Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Should Ghana Not Seek Low-Carbon Development Agreements With Norway, Sweden, Denmark & Finland To Preserve Her Remaining Forest Cover?

On the 21st of May, 2016, humankind celebrated International Day of Forests. Having evolved over millions of years, forests perform vital ecosystem services for our biosphere.

In our homeland Ghana, they contain watersheds of our nation's many streams and rivers - which provide the drinking-water supply for countless villages, towns and cities across the nation.

It is said that water is life. On that basis alone, Ghanaians ought to treasure and protect the remainder of their nation's fast-dwindling forest cover, and ensure that they survive and thrive.

As our biosphere warms up, forests are crucial for our continued survival, because without them all our major river systems would dry up rapidly.

In that sense, they are key underpinnings for a reasonably good quality of life, for people in communities all over Ghana. Their preservation will ensure that future generations of our people, also enjoy a reasonably good quality of life too.

That is why from now onwards,  we must deal ruthlessly with the few  selfish and greedy individuals involved in  illegal logging, for the production of bush-cut chainsaw lumber.

In that regard, this blog salutes all those in the Forestry Commission's Forestry Division who - unlike their perfidious and corrupt colleagues who collude with the ruthless criminals destroying Ghana's forests -  daily resist the blandishments of the wealthy criminal syndicates, which are behind most of the illegal logging in Ghana.

They are indeed the unsung heroes of our time - and they all deserve to be given public recognition. Each one of them ought to be awarded the Order of the Star of Ghana - our nation's highest honour. Without such honest, patriotic and dedicated Forestry Division officials, the remainder of our forests will all disappear in less than a decade.

Perhaps the question we must all ponder over  is: How can we turn our forests - all of which contain trillions of dollars in yet-to-be-discovered medicinal plants - into key foreign exchange earners through community carbon sequestration projects, which can sustain  fringe-forest communities financially: as the world transitions to a sustainable low-carbon global economy?

It will be recalled that sections of the Ghanaian media, reported not too long ago that European Union (EU) diplomats accredited to Ghana  had announced that the EU had started a carbon credit scheme in Ghana. What is the current status of that particular initiative, one wonders - as there was a dearth of detail in those media reports?

Whatever be the case, one hopes that those in charge of implementing REDD+ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects at the Forestry Commission, will work hard to ensure that CDM projects benefit many of Ghana's fringe-forest communities.

Hopefully, some of those projects will also benefit the Forestry Division of the Forestry Commission itself, too.

However, this being Ghana, the EU's representatives here ought to ensure that the EU initiative is monitored closely and audited regularly - and completed final audit reports issued to all civil society stakeholders.

President Mahama, who together with the Norwegian prime minister, Ms. Erna Solberg, is co-chairperson of the 16 eminent individuals appointed as U.N. Sustainable Development Goals Advocates (SDGAs), has an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy - by finding a creative solution to the intractable problem of illegal logging in Ghana once and for all.

Why does he not use his position as co-chair of the 16 SDGAs,  to hold talks with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, and all the other Scandinavian leaders, with the aim of drawing up and signing low-carbon development agreements - similar to the one Norway has with Guyana - with them, to protect and conserve Ghana's remaining forests in exchange for regular  annual payments from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland?

If those funds are ring-fenced, and the GiveDirect business model is adopted, to distribute the funds directly to households in fringe-forest communities across Ghana,  will those fringe-forest communities not protect the remainder of our nation's forests - because doing so will be in their collective self-interest, financially?

Will that not eradicate the mind-numbing abject-poverty, which literally forces them to engage in illegal logging, and illegal gold mining, at the behest of the wealthy criminal types that sponsor those abominations nationwide?

Signing low-carbon development agreements with Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, to receive payments for preserving our remaining forests makes perfect sense, at this juncture of our nation's history. At a time when global climate change is impacting Ghana so negatively, it will halt the destruction of our nation's remaining forests - and dramatically improve the living standards of fringe-forest communities across Ghana.

Post a Comment